June 9, 2010
Melissa and Doug Toys have become extremely popular with families all over. A friend of mine asked me for tips on where to buy Melissa and Doug Toys at good prices. If you ever make it over the border--head to a discount store like Marshall's or Ross dress for less and you will find some great deals. Melissa and Doug is less expensive in the states anyway, so even if you pop over to a Toys R Us or another mainstream store, typically it will be less than what you will pay in Canada. My mother-in-law got some great deals on Melissa and Doug stuff while she was in Florida this past winter.
That being said--in Canada deals on Melissa and Doug can be had.
Three Tips on buying Melissa and Doug Toys:
Number 1--check my blog every so often--if I ever hear about a sale on their products, I will post it.
Number 2--both my friends Bernie and Meghan have recommended that you go to Winners in their toy section. And yes, you will find great prices for the toys. Also, if your Winners has a clearance section--go there too... today I found a Melissa and Doug Playful Puppy pull toy (pictured above) for $10.00 (retails in the U.S. for 19.99)and they also had a birdhouse shape sorter for $15 (retails in the U.S. for 24.99). They also had a lot of puzzles in the regular priced section which are still priced a lot lower than the regular price. The only drawback with shopping at Winners for Melissa and Doug is that the selection is dependent on what they have--so if you see something that your child might use SOON... buy it. Don't wait. It might not be there next time you are there. Keep it in the package and keep the receipt, just in case you see it for less later. **by the way: the deals mentioned above were seen today at the Winners at Bathurst and Lawrence***
Number 3--Homesense also sometimes has a good selection at great prices. My mom says that in the Ottawa area that is where she goes to buy the Melissa and Doug toys. She claims that the prices are often 50% off what they would be in a toy store. So check it out!
Do buy Melissa and Doug when it is on sale or if you see a good item for b-day gifts. Parents love them and kids do too... so they make a great gift.
If anyone knows of good spots to buy them--let us know--post a comment!
Now here is an article that I found at Childcentral.com about the toys.
Melissa and Doug Educational Toys and the Importance of Play
Do you know that playing with the right kind of child educational toy is vital to your child's development?
Play is arguably the most important phase of a child's life. At babyhood, one passes the sharpest phase of life in which they understand the most. It is at this age that the cognitive powers of a human being take shape. This is the age when the human brain is like red hot iron - ready to accept anything taught. However, school education is yet to begin for the kid experiencing the most receptive phase of life.
This is what makes it of extreme interest to expose the kid to educational toys such as the Melissa and Doug Toys and leverage the kid's cognition and skills through the right kind of play.
Children experience an electric-fast growth in brain powers and motor-development as toddlers. This makes them growing in demand for both mental and physical activities that involve their attention. If you think of it, the right kinds of toys are capable of nurturing your baby providing the required traction to both these fundamental requirements. And through these toys and play sessions children experience the mental and emotional positives that help their mind and psychology grow in the right orientation.
Children begin their play-life before their school life. The preschool kids - mostly toddlers - step into a world of toys in which a toy is initially a foreign object of interest. As the kid keeps adopting the toys, an entirely new universe opens its door in the kid's eyes. From indoor table games that allow them to arrange pictures and blocks to physical kid-games involving battery-controlled cars, the growing toddler keeps growing interest in almost every toy and game s/he sees around.
As a parent, your job would now be to mix a set of games and toys helping the child develop mental and thinking skills with those assisting him/her to grow in movement-based skills. Interestingly, a child who gets a balance of the two tends to grow better than a child who does not get a good balance and than a child who is not exposed to toys and games to the right extent. The child carries the habit of play into school life. The nature of play evolves. Children now get deeper into involvement of cognitive activities into the games such as making rhymes and songs, taking interest in games with deeper rules and playing games that may have results over longer terms spanning across a time frame rather than immediate results.
Exposure to play and good toys make a sea-change in a kid's life. There are a number of significant benefits that a kid experiences if s/he is given a well-balanced and well-planned exposure to toys and the habit of play in general.
Some of the positives are as follows.
- Enjoyment for the kid:
Play provides relaxation to the kid. Since playing is one of the most natural activities in a kid, usually you shall never have to force the kid to play. The kid will want to do it in self-interest. As a grown-up and mature person, you would easily appreciate what a huge difference it makes when someone (your kid) is driving an activity on their own from getting the activity done only against a push. Kids love and enjoy playing - and nothing better than to morph their enjoyment into their process of growing-up and education.
- Development of cognitive prowess:
Games that orient in thinking help your child develop cognitive capabilities. Games that involve simple math, puzzles that interest your child, pattern development exercises involving your child's favorite niches (such as making cars out of wood or plastic blocks), games involving understanding and applying deeper rules and games involving planning are some classes of games that would leave a long-term positive mark on the cognitive development of your child.
- Motor development:
As mentioned earlier, the motor activities of the child develops in early childhood and stabilizes as the child grows up. Hence, providing games that assist in such development helps the child mature better in this area. The exercises are good for the child's physical development. For example, a three-year old trying to dig, scoop and pour sand in a urn gets a good physical exercise in parallel to envisioning the shape and size which gives them mental exercise.
- Social development:
Playing in groups involves socialization. The child develops his/her social skills in the process of playing multi-player games.
- Psychological and emotional development:
The child learns to win and lose games, and learns to think through processes rather than panicking. S/he learns to take on new challenges and methodically work out the way to overcome those challenges. All of this leads to psychological and emotional development in the child.
- Development in creativity:
As the child gets exposed to all the newer concepts coming from the toys and rules of games, s/he starts to think. Thinking capabilities and innovativeness are obviously the most important factors that distinguish successful adults from failures. Playing the right games triggers the process of thoughts inside a child, which in turn leads to creativity and innovation. A child who practices innovation during childhood gathers the potential to become a winner as an adult.
- Language development:
With social skill development, group games make the child communicate. This leads to development in language skills of the child. There are other toys and games such as word makers that actively involve the child's language skills and enhance these skills. All these games and toys contribute in enhancing and nurturing the child's grasp on language.
- Other benefits:
Additionally, the child enjoys some other benefits as a result of playing games. Development of mental concentration is one of them. Learning self-help is another plus. Helping friends and colleagues is yet another take-away. There are many more constructive but intricate benefits that your child experiences and that shows up in the longer run of his/her life positively.
Clearly, with the right exposure to the right kinds of toys, kids can immensely benefit from their favorite pastime - play. Toy and games manufacturers such as Melissa and Doug Toys tend to develop toy-set for children that are well-balanced and targeted towards honing the best of your child's skills. It is wise to make the best of a child's phase of growing up by letting them play well and play the right games - after all, your kid will have only one childhood to enjoy as well as to grow.